The Medical Marijuana Magazine


Medical marijuana on Washington, D.C., fall ballot

Washington, DC -- Organizers for DC's Ballot Initiative 59 submitted petition sheets containing some 32,000 signatures to the DC Board of Elections and Ethics on Monday, July 6, 1998. Measure 59, which will be placed on the upcoming general election ballot on November 3, proposes to protect persons with serious and terminal illnesses such as cancer, glaucoma, and advanced stages of AIDS, if they are told by their doctor to use small amounts of marijuana to ease their suffering.

DC AIDS activist Steve Michael, Initiative 59's original sponsor, transferred the Measure to his partner of 7 years, Wayne Turner, the day before he entered the Intensive Care Unit of the Washington Hospital Center. "You have to keep going on the Initiative," Michael instructed, "just in case I don't make it." Steve Michael, 42, died from AIDS foar weeks later, on May 25.

A determined group of local activists vigorously hit the streets, gathering the signatures of at least 5% of DC registered voters, a total 16,997, in order to place Initiative 59 on the November ballot.

"This campaign for Initiative 59 has been nothing less than an act of love," states Wayne Turner, of the AIDS advocacy group ACT UP/DC. "From everyone who circulated the petitions to those who signed, there is compassion, and hope for the sick and dying."

In order to qualify Initiative 59 for the November election ballot, at least 5% of the total number of District registered voters, representing at least five of the eight wards, need to sign petitions. Activists have verified more than 18,000 valid signatures for Initiative 59, matching names and addresses based upon the District's own voter rolls. According to I-59's calculations, the minimal amount has been exceeded in 6 of the District's 8 Wards.

"Our local, grassroots campaign, funded on a shoestring budget, proves that democracy is alive and well here in the District of Columbia." adds Turner. "We're going to win in November!"

The group's earlier effort, Initiative 57, fell short last year of the requisite signature requirement, prompting an ongoing lawsuit challenging DC's inflated voter rolls.

Special thanks to the DC Green Party, with support from the Whitman-Walker Clinic, and the African American Catholic Congregation, and all our volunteers!


Note from CCCC: The AIDS activists in DC have scored a huge victory on behalf of patients and grassroots patient advocates. The Yes on 59 Campaign deserves all the support you can give. Please forward this message to discussion groups, the Usenet, or other interested parties.

Donations can be made to:
Yes on 59 Campaign
409 H Street N.E. - Suite #1
Washington, D.C. 20002-4335
Phone: (202) 547-9404
Fax: (202) 547-9448

For more information on the DC campaign, see:


Photo's of Steve Michael's Political Funeral - June 4, 1998


Distributed by:
Colorado Citizens for Compassionate Cannabis
P.O. Box 729
Nederland, CO 80466
Phone: (303) 784-5632